I forgot I had made these, but they are soooo cooool! I made two of these last year, and they have lived outside for most of the year, including winter. The colours have faded a bit though. You’re supposed to bring them in for the winter, really, but I wanted to see how they would fare. I will definitely make these again, in time for Easter 2017, so watch this space.
Yay! My first craft fair! Come and find me at St Mary’s church at the bottom of Bramall Lane in Sheffield. Its a really cool fair full of top quality arts and crafts. Cheap admission for visitors, and a lovely cafe – try the cakes. I’ll be bringing with me the stuff I have online here, but I also hope to have some of my art on display too, which doesn’t transfer as well as I’d like to online promotional sites. Come and see what it really looks like, and say hello.
I got this idea from an article in The Guardian. Ai Weiwei, Chinese dissident artist of porcelain sunflower seeds fame (among other things) came up with the idea of making these worms from old socks. The way they are made means they have no mouth – no way of speaking out, just as many people in China have no way of speaking out. I think its a brilliant idea and made some of my own.
Like lots of folk these days, I carry around my own teabags. Black tea’s OK, but I drink it black (as you should) and I can’t drink it stewed, so I carry around a stash of Redbush which just doesn’t stew. And when I’m on a health kick, I’ll carry around white tea or something. But if, like me, you just filch a couple of bags from the stash in the kitchen, it only takes a day or two for them to become very rumpled and sad-looking. And only a day or two more before they collapse completely and release their contents all over your pocket or bag, never to be removed.
At a craft fair I saw someone had knitted rather fabulous teabag wallets. What a ripping idea. So I knitted one of my own and it works really well. You can knit one in pretty quick time. However, I needed to make them in double quick time for an up and coming fair, so out came the felt, and here we are, a teabag pouch big enough to take two individually packaged teabags of your choice.
There’s nothing like being seasonal, so here we are with some Christmas decorations I started 18mths ago and have finally finished. Very simple, but with the beading (I do like beading things) they took a long time to complete. I’ve also made one lone decoration using a Suffolk Puff. I really enjoyed making it, took an afternoon. I reckon with a bit of practice I could get the time down a bit. Happy to take orders, of course – they’re nice for a present as well as for your own tree.
So…what can you do when you’ve dropped yourself in it and promised to make some handcrafted goods for an up and coming fair? Well, I’ve made a few mobile covers (most recently one with a neck strap for dad who walks with a frame), but they are too fine to make en masse. So out came the felt and in three easy steps I had a small stash.
These fit a Samsung Galaxy, but I hope to make some to fit a dumb phone, and if anyone needs one for an iphone or some other make, please send me the measurements and I’ll make one for you. You can have a very simple one from felt, or an all-singing, all-dancing one.
When I was a nipper and living at home (as nippers do), our tree went up no more than two weeks before Christmas, along with what we called in our family a fairy tree. Mum had these wonderful fairies made from glass and thick, coloured pipecleaner type stuff. The rest of the deccies remained in their boxes, because on Christmas Eve when we had gone to bed the fairies would come to life, jump down from their tree and put up the decorations. Then they would return to their tree and turn in to chocolates. Such a lovely story, and we were the only family I have ever come across that had one. It really added to the magic of Christmas. None of this putting up of deccies in November – heaven forfend!
When I got my own house, my dad made me a tree of my own, and I still have it 20-odd years later, although its looking a bit battered now. And I have small bears hanging on mine, so its a beary tree. When my church decided to have a couple of craft stalls at a church Christmas Fair, I and some of my chums decided to make a selection of crafts to sell to raise money for our church. Here was an ideal opportunity to introduce the world to the concept of the fairy tree. I’ve made a huge one that will double up as a tree to display our crafted Chrimbo decorations, and maybe replace the one dad made. And I’ve made 8 little tiny ones that can grace a Christmas table or window ledge.
They’re everso easy to make, but very time consuming. When I dig my camera out, I’ll post a pic of one. First of all you need to collect some apple tree branches. They must be apple trees because they’re so wonderfully knobbly so they make great shapes and there’s lots of places to hang deccies from. Cut them to the right length, and select an old plastic plant pot. Dad always uses terracotta, but I’ve used plastic ones because I like to use my terracotta ones for my plants. Fill the pot with plaster of paris or cement. I use cement, but if you use plaster of paris you need to work very quickly. Put your twigs into the cement (three works best) and leave for a few days to set. Paint the twigs with undercoat, and then a coat of white gloss or emulsion, its up to you. While the paint is wet, sprinkle glitter onto the branches. Make sure you paint the cement and the outside rim of the pot too.
When your paint is dry, decorate the pot. You can leave it plain if you want, and just wrap thick tinsel around it, which is what dad does. But as I will be selling mine, and they are to go on the table, I will be decorating my pots. To do this, I’ve saved all the green and red pics, adverts, etc from glossy Sunday mags and women’s mags. Its cheap and really colourful with all the different shades. Don’t worry about avoiding text, it just adds to the effect. Don’t cut the pages, tear them so they have a bit of a white edge to them. Using PVA, stick them to your pots, making sure that when you have finished, the whole lot is covered in glue – it gives a nice shine.
When that’s all dry, cut out a piece of card and a piece of felt for the underneath of your pot and stick on – you don’t want cement dust and scratches on your table. Finally, if you’re not using it as a fairy tree, decorate the branches with to-scale deccies. I’m using coloured cat bells and tinselly pompoms like those you get on Chrimbo cards. And there you go, a lovely fairy tree.
The one in the picture is a tiny one, standing about a foot high. I thought a little one would be nice for the table. They are for sale, but they’re too fragile to post, so you’d have to collect them. If you’re interested, go to my ‘contact’ page.
I’ve just got back from the Harrogate Knitting and Stitching Show. Its every November, the last weekend, and it runs for four days. If you haven’t been, you really must, its really rather fabulous. You do need a whole day to get around it all, especially if you want to take a look at the rather excellent exhibition which is always good for inspiration and wow factor. This is the place to get stuff you can often only get on the internet, its a great opportunity to take a look (and feel) at some lovely fabrics, and pick up some excellent end-of-range bargains. I’m in the middle of making stuff for Chrimbo at the moment, so I can’t make a start on playing with the stash I brought home. Most frustrating! But I guess I’ll enjoy it all the more when I finally have some time over Christmas to get stuck in (once I’ve mucked out my shed).
Some of the stuff I bought was a lovely ribbon-yarn with which I’m going to knit a dress. I already have one that someone else knitted, so I can cross-ref that with a pattern I have for a strappy vesty, tanktoppy thing that would make a great dress if I make it long enough. The colour is a watered silk kind of green, very pretty – and at £6 for 1500g its a right bargain! Then I bought some yarn that looks like fair isle when you knit it up. I’m intrigued to see what it will look like. I’ll be using it to make a vesty, tank-toppy thing. Of course all these will feature on the website while in progress (in case I don’t get them finished for months and months). Fat quarters figured, of course, as did leftover bits of really pretty material, two balls of sari silk, and some wool in Bagpuss pink and Bagpuss cream with which I’m going to make a bobble hat minus bobble but with ears. I’m going to bastardise a pattern. This has to be knitted in the round, which I’ve never done, so I had to buy the tools for this. Hope I will managed. I will report back.
Finally, one of the most exciting finds was these massive needles for extreme knitting. I’ll take a pic and post them online. They must be 25mm at least. The lady who was selling these was using them to knit the most fantastic rugs. They were really chunky, and using the right kind of yarn, you could even make door mats. I can’t wait to play with them! I really like these knitted puffeys that are popping up everywhere, but I’m not paying the price. With these new needles I can make my own.
So, all in all a mighty good haul. Watch this space for some pics of my new acquisitions.
So there I was on retreat, and there was this other lassie busy crocheting with bits of plastic. She was making little circlets just to see what happened, but was thinking about making coasters or corsages.
Well I can’t crochet (yet – but I will, you know), but I did think that if you can crochet with the stuff, you can knit with it. So I had this bright idea of making my mum a knitted bag. You can see my efforts on my plastics page. First of all I had to collect plastic bags because being a green kind of dude, I don’t use the things (engages smug mode). So I got folk at work to collect them for me. This worked really well, although I ended up with loads of bags I couldn’t use as well. They have to be the cheap, crinkly ones that cats like to sit in (please remove cat before attempting knitting). I’m sure folk thought I was an easy repository for their rubbish!
I began this exercise at the beginning of October, thinking a couple of months would be enough. Hahahahahahahaaaa! O no it wasn’t apparently. By the time I got to Christmas, I’d got about half a panel done. So it turned into a birthday present. That gave me until May. O yes, I was sure to get it done by then. Hahahahahahahaaaa! No.
Its not like I was being slack, its just the prepping of the plastic to get it knit-ready was pretty laborious. I won’t make such a blummen big bag next time. So by the time I’d finished it, it was ready for the following Christmas. It took just over a year to make it. I was pretty impressed with it though, and made myself a mobile phone cover in the same way. Needless to say, that didn’t take a year to make.
Now I have a massive stash of prepared plastic bags in my shed. Partner has developed this habit of bringing home plastic bags – he’s like a really chuffed puppy fetching slippers – ‘Here you are Great White Overlord, I’ve got you a bag!’. Awww…bless! But I ain’t going to complain, because its very good of him to help, and it will mean I have a good stash next time I take it upon me to make my very own sleeping bag, or duvet cover or something…Not sure about the green credentials tho..
Well its OK just making a bowl, but it does need a bit of embellishment as well. I’d saved the most decorative bit for the inside. Bit dumb really, as its going to be covered with ‘Interesting Things’ (in the absence of a rabbit skin bag – if you don’t know what I mean, you need to read ‘Hitchhiker’s Guide…). Next time, I’ll make sure the decorative felt is on the outside.
Anyhoo, I’ve begun to embellish. Out came my lovely beads. I wondered first of all whether I should try to hide where the felt pieces overlaid each other, or make a feature. I decided to feature them, so I stitched them together first, to make sure the PVA I’d stuck everything together with didn’t get tired and come apart. Then I decorated the stitches with beads, and then I decided to go around the lip of the bowl with beads too, to give it a sort of crusty effect.
This is where I’ve got so far. It still looks a little plain to me, so I’m not sure at this moment whether I will leave it as it is, or whether it needs some more decoration. I’ve parked it for now, to give the ole back burner a chance to chew it over. Praps I should put my Interesting Things in it; that might help me decide. I shall let you know in my next instalment.